Whenever I am heading into a new time period (be it a new year, month, quarter, or season), there is often much for me to consider. I look at resetting objectives and moving into a different season of who I am and will function during the upcoming dispensation of my life. Some of the things I immediately begin to think about include:
- Where I am and would like to be
- What have I been able to accomplish and what is left undone
- What changes I would like to make (namely, what habits should be continued and which ones should be quietly laid to rest)
Considering all the above, it is natural to begin looking at available resources and assets. That is, all the things you have by way of time, talent, material things, relationships, and so forth in light of your newfound directives. The next question, is then, do I have enough?
The Backstory: An Introduction to Economics and a Growing Passion for Stewardship
I’ve always had a ‘knack’ for entrepreneurship and management (I’d like to think anyway). So, much of my life’s story read like a tale of fine-tuning the skills and attitudes that make you great at both. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that ‘econ’ (economics) was one of my favourite subjects during the latter part of my high school career. I was intrigued by the concept that resources are always scarce irrespective of how much or how little is actually available and that economics is essentially an artfully laid out management system that will ensure we manage the resources that do exist in a way that maximises their reach and impact.
While I never continued formal studies into economics beyond the pre-University level, this philosophy of stewardship – i.e. better resource management versus merely acquiring more resources – is one that has stayed with me to this day. It is a multi-layered concept that I continue to unpack as I face new milestones in both my personal and professional journeys. Here are three key takeaways that this mindset has created for me.
01. Yes, You Have More Than Enough
The notion of resource management versus simply acquiring more resources suggests that we are not as deficient as we think we are and perhaps have even more than we realise or are ready to admit. The idea of smarter stewardship is one that causes us to take a second look through the eyes of a renewed perspective and respond strategically by designing a system that will allow us to put said resources to better use.
02. What You Do With A Little, You’ll Do With A Lot
Many times, we mistakenly think that we need ‘more’ to achieve our vision or to be able to accomplish certain things. When I think of this misconception, how we perceive and treat money readily comes to mind. We often think that once we have more money, we will be able to save, invest, and build wealth. However, the truth is, how we treat a little money is how we will treat a lot of money. It is highly unlikely that if we are not in the habit of saving 10% of our income now that we are automatically going to do it when we have more.
Instead, chances are higher, that we will find more things we need that will require us to spend that ‘extra money’ we now have on. Perhaps, this is why we see lottery winners or persons who otherwise come into a lot of wealth suddenly, end up right where they started (and sometimes worse) in no time. Similarly, while there may be situations where you will be in need of additional resources (like more money), you will still need to manage that ‘more’ well when you do acquire it.
03. Design A Resource Management System in Three Steps
An understanding of all that has already been mentioned is a great place to start when having a second look at your resources and how they fit within your grandest visions. However, more is needed if you are to really maximise all you have. You will need a strategy. To build one that works for you, consider the following:
I. Assessment (vision and resources)
Naturally, your strategy will begin at the place of assessment. Your assessment will be two-fold, starting first from the place of your big-picture vision. Once you outline what you want to achieve, then you can outline (list) ALL the resources and assets you have (even if you don’t think they are readily applicable) which is the second phase of this first assessment step.
II. Minimum viable option
The second phase is to look at the most feasible thing you can do first. Chances are high that you won’t be able to immediately realise the big picture vision you outlined in the first part of your assessment in step 1. As such, you will have to look at the next best thing – which is, essentially, the highest quality output within the confines or limitations of your given resources. Yes, confines and limitations. It is important to look at what your resources are unable to help you achieve as well as what it can. Doing so will help you to formulate the best way forward.
III. Steps for moving forward
Once you know what is possible and what you have in hand, you can begin to break down or outline the steps that will help you make it happen. This is the final piece of the puzzle in this regard.
Bonus Tips – Resources
We’ve been talking about resources all article long and so, I thought I’d provide just a little insight into exactly what I’m referring to whenever I use the term. Normally, when we hear the term resources, our mind quickly runs to material stock, supply or assets. I tend to broaden the term to include anything that can be leveraged toward the end of achieving your goals or objectives. So, time, personality, and even some preferred life and work habits are included in the mix for me. Let me explain.
Your personality and natural inclinations regarding preferred ways of working (like doing creative work at nights, for example) can all be considered forms of resources that can be used as a tool within your arsenal can help you achieve the vision(s) you have outlined by yourself. As such, be sure to take careful note of all that you have, including the idiosyncrasies that you think are less than ‘ideal.’ You’d be surprised at how those seeming personalities quirks can be made to work for you.